Foreign Relations Of Latvia
Today's Republic of Latvia regards itself as a continuation of the 1918–1940 republic. After the declaration on the restoration of its full independence on August 21, 1991, Latvia became a member of the United Nations on September 17, 1991, and is a signatory to a number of UN organizations and other international agreements, including Council of Europe, CERCO, International Council for the Exploration of the Sea, International Civil Aviation Organization, International Atomic Energy Agency, UNESCO, UNICEF, International Criminal Court, the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. It also is a member of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) and of the North Atlantic Coordinating Council. On 20 September 2003, in a nationwide referendum, the Latvians voted to join the European Union and Latvia's EU membership took effect on 1 May 2004. Latvia became a member state of NATO on March 29, 2004. Latvia welcomes further cooperation and integration with NATO, European Union, and other Western organizations. It also seeks more active participation in UN peacekeeping efforts worldwide.
Through its Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Latvia maintains embassies in Argentina, Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Canada, the People's Republic of China, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Israel, Italy, Lithuania, Netherlands, Nicaragua, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Russia, South Africa, Sweden, Ukraine, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Uzbekistan.
It also operates missions to the United Nations in New York City and Geneva, the European Council, and non-member representation to the European Union, Chemical Weapons Nonproliferation Organization, the OSCE, NATO, World Trade Organization, and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.
Latvia has a Consulate General in Russia; Consulates in Belarus and Russia; Honorary Consulates General in Australia, Cyprus, India, Israel, and Norway; and Honorary Consulates in Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belarus, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Cyprus, Denmark, Egypt, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Luxembourg, Mexico, Moldova, Netherlands, Norway, Pakistan, Philippines, Poland, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey, and Venezuela.
Russia expresses concern for how Latvia's language and naturalization laws effect Latvia's Russian-speaking population. Russians comprised 27.6% of the population in 2010. In turn, Latvia is interested in the welfare of ethnic Latvians still residing in Russia. The latest Russian census shows about 40,000 still living in Russia, but sources indicate that given the probability of an undercount, Latvians in Russia probably number about 50,000-60,000.
Disputes - international: Treaty delimiting the boundary with Russia has been signed and ratified in 2007, under the treaty the Abrene district passes to Russia; ongoing talks over maritime boundary dispute with Lithuania (primary concern is oil exploration rights)
Illicit drugs: transshipment point for opiates and cannabis from Central and Southwest Asia to Western Europe and Scandinavia and Latin American cocaine and some synthetics from Western Europe to CIS; limited production of illicit amphetamines, ephedrine, and ecstasy for export.
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